Flying drones at night

While flying drones at night can be challenging, there are legitimate reasons for night flight. Not just for cinematography, but for inspections. For example, most roof inspections are done at night. We have waivers to be able to legally fly at night, and also have the experience to mitigate the inherent risk associated with this type of flight.

Here you can find the waivers that can be granted under 14 CFR Part 107 Certification

Risk Mitigation for Flying drones at night

Check the area during the day:

During night flight, power lines and other obstacles become invisible: the best way to mitigate this is to conduct a walk-through during the day and take careful notes on where all these potential obstructions are. Being aware of our surroundings even before we fly (situational awareness) is a huge step in risk-mitigation.

Guard our night vision:

From the Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge:

“Dark adaptation is the adjustment of the human eye to a dark environment. That adjustment takes longer depending on the amount of light in the environment that a person has just left. Moving from a bright room into a dark one takes longer than moving from a dim room and going into a dark one. While the cones adapt rapidly to changes in light intensities, the rods take much longer. Walking from bright sunlight into a dark movie theater is an example of this dark adaptation period experience. The rods can take approximately 30 minutes to fully adapt to darkness. A bright light, however, can completely destroy night adaptation, leaving night vision severely compromised while the adaptation process is repeated.” ~ Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge

Wear sunglasses (yes, at night!) - This precaution increases the rate of dark adaptation at night and improves night visual sensitivity, a must for night flight.

Avoid drugs

Prescription or otherwise, exhaustion, alcohol (this one is a given), stress and a poor diet.

Use Red light:

When necessary to illuminate a bit of your takeoff and landing areas, it is best to use red lights to conserve our night vision.

Be aware of illusions during night flight:

  • Motion Parallax
  • Size-distance illusion
  • Autokinesis
  • False Horizon
  • More

Use a Visual Observer:

It goes without saying that 2 sets of eyes can see a lot more than one set (besides, our waivers demand we do that).

Do you need us to fly the drone at night?

Drop us a line today!